Malang, East Java. Policewomen in Malang are now allowed to wear Islamic headdress to work on Fridays, a regulation that has been effective since last month following an increasing number of requests by local female officers.
In light of the concession, female officers are now hoping they will soon be allowed to wear head scarves to work daily.
“It’s better to wear a hijab, it’s more efficient. We don’t have to comb our hair but we’d still look tidy. It’s also good when we have to work at night,” said Dewi Fitria, a member of Malang Police’s community guidance unit on Friday.
Dewi has been wearing a head scarf for the past two-and-a-half months and she adopted the style used by female Aceh police officers who wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts plus the head scarf.
“In Islam, the regulation about the hijab varies. There’s a requirement [for women] to be covered to the chest, but the head scarves we wear are the same as those worn by female police officers in Aceh. We order them from there and get them delivered in three days,” she said.
Dewi said similar outfits are worn by policewomen in Blitar and Jombang in East Java, adding that female officers would continue to fight for the right to wear the hijab to work every day.
“We have a group on Facebook, called Polwan Indonesia. There’s a senior [female] officer — an adjutant senior commissioner — who is constantly pushing for a clear regulation about head scarves for female police officers,” she said.
Meanwhile, Malang Police chief Adj. Snr. Cmr. Adi Deriyan Jayamarta said aside from Aceh, there are no clear rules regulating the wearing of head scarves by policewomen while on duty.
Adi said the regulation to allow female officers in Malang to wear the hijab on Fridays was issued because of a request from several officers who also regularly wear the hijab daily while off duty.
“Between 50 percent and 80 percent of policewomen wear the hijab after working hours. I allowed them to wear it only on Fridays voluntarily,” he said.